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Free and low-cost ideas for family fun in Leicester this half-term

Families enjoy a ride on the train at Abbey Pumping Station

FAMILIES looking for low-cost ideas for fun days out in Leicester during the half-term break will find lots going on in their local library, the city’s museums and various city centre locations.

Bring the Paint – the city’s biennial international street art festival – will end on a high this weekend with free events at both Leicester Museum and the LCB Depot.

On Saturday (25 May), families can drop in to the LCB Depot on Rutland Street to take part in a range of creative activities or enjoy live music in the courtyard. There will also be DJ sessions and the playful artwork of Bring the Paint artist-in-residence 45RPM to admire. Activities run from 11am until 4pm.

On Saturday and Sunday (25-26 May), Leicester Museum is inviting those aged eight and over to get creative with Multibrush, the virtual reality (VR) drawing app. As part of the Bring the Paint festival, youngsters can don VR headsets and have fun exploring the possibilities of virtual brushes and tools on a fully three-dimensional canvas.

Each one-hour session on the free Multibrush workshop must be booked in advance, with sessions taking place at 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm on both days.

Sunday (26 May) sees the return of Open Streets – and a chance to join a guided bike ride that will take in some of the iconic Bring the Paint murals around the city centre. Places on the ‘See the Artwork’ ride should be booked at The relaxed ride departs at 1pm and will cover around four miles.

Newarke Houses Museum is inviting visitors to bring a picnic to enjoy in its beautiful garden on Tuesday (28 May). There’ll be garden games, butterfly-themed crafts and a children’s garden trail, with a £4 charge for activities when booked in advance (£5 on the door).

Also on Tuesday (28 May), Abbey Pumping Station opens its doors for one of its popular Railway Days. Hop on the train on the narrow-gauge railway, enjoy light refreshments from the café, or simply bring a picnic and make the most of the fine weather in the museum’s grounds.

The Railway Day runs from 11.30am-4pm, with a 50p charge for train rides.

Belgrave Hall hosts an Arty Party from 11am-3pm on Wednesday (29 May), when youngsters can bring along a plain t-shirt or a glass jar and use a range of decorative materials to make them unique, while the whole family can enjoy the hall’s beautiful gardens.

Tickets for youngsters taking part in Arty Party activities are £4 when booked in advance (£5 on the door – cash only please).

Also on Wednesday, families are invited to walk, scoot or cycle to the Oval at Abbey Park to join celebrations marking the end of National Walking Month. Funky Feet and Wacky Wheels runs from 11am-2pm.

There’s lots going on on Thursday (30 May), with an unforgettable day of learning, crafting and eco-conscious fun at Leicester Museum, Clay-Time at the Guildhall (tickets £4 when booked in advance), crafts at Leicester Cathedral (10am-12 noon), and Commotion in the Ocean – a free seaside-themed event at the Haymarket Shopping Centre.

Throughout the week, Leicester’s libraries will be welcoming young visitors with some special half-term activities. Highfields Library, for example, will be making beaded creatures on Tuesday (28 May, 1pm-4pm), Fosse Library will be creating farmyard animal puppets on Wednesday (29 May, 12 noon-2pm), St Matthews Library will be running nature-themed craft activities on Thursday (30 May, 2pm-4pm), and Beaumont Leys Library will be offering drop-in activities all week, including the chance to colour in a creature and add it to the library’s giant woodland mural.

There are lots more activities taking place at the city’s libraries this half-term, with full details listed here  

Babies and younger children will be catered for too, with ‘stay and play’ sessions taking place at the city’s children, young people and families’ centres.

Ensuring that the May half-term break ends on a high is Leicester’s 25th Riverside Festival on Saturday 1 June and Sunday 2 June.

Promising to be bigger and better than ever, the two-day festival will offer lots of family fun, both on and off the water, at sites including Bede Park, Castle Gardens, Western Boulevard and – for the first time – the De Montfort University (DMU) campus.

Look out for outdoor cinema on the big screen at DMU, boat trips and kayaking on the river, live music on the main stage, and plenty of family-friendly activities.

Details of all these events, links to booking sites and lots more ideas for half-term fun can be found at